Celebrations at three campus locations and a special Town Hall meeting marked the continuing fanfare over Stony Brook University being selected as the anchor institution of The New York Climate Exchange.
The world-leading climate solutions center will be located on Governors Island in New York City, and will develop solutions to the global climate crisis while acting as a hub for New Yorkers to benefit from the rapidly evolving green economy.
President Maurie McInnis hosted the Town Hall meeting on April 26, the day after New York City Mayor Eric Adams made the historic announcement. Moderated by SBU alumnus Craig Allen ’79, chief meteorologist for WCBS-880, the meeting’s panel also included Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor Kevin Reed of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Jed Shivers, and Keith O’Connor, principal of the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), which conceived the design and operations of The Exchange.
“Setting ambitious goals, responding to society’s greatest needs and propelling our university to even higher levels of excellence is the Stony Brook way, and it’s why we’re here today,” said McInnis. “We’ve proven a lot of things in this process. We’ve proven that we had the courage and the heart to take on bold challenges, that we are unafraid to take risks, and that we are dedicated to making a change in our community and in the world beyond.”
Reed said The Exchange will focus on end-to-end research and technology acceleration, with the challenge of converting ideas into potential solutions that are scalable not only for New York City communities, but beyond.
“By scaling these existing programs we can help the green workforce be implemented sooner and faster, because we really need this in order for New York to meet its climate goals,” Reed said. “What Stony Brook is going to get to invest is our ideas, our passions, and our problem-solving skills.”
The Trust for Governors Island through the City of New York is committing $100 million to the project, and remaining monies for construction and operations will come from partners, grants and philanthropic donations. The Simons Foundation, together with Simons Foundation International, have pledged a total of $100 million as matching gift support for The Exchange – the second-largest gift in Stony Brook’s history. Additionally, Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $50 million contribution to the project.
Shivers noted that The Exchange is a separate and distinct charitable organization licensed to do business in the state of New York with its own assets and liabilities, along with its own board of directors, which represent the participating higher education institutions, corporations and other organizations. “No Stony Brook University funds shall be utilized as part of the capital that needs to be raised to do the design or the construction work or support the initial operating expenses,” Shivers said.
After the Town Hall, the celebration began on the Academic Mall, where a Shagbark Hickory tree — an original Governors Island nut tree species — was planted in a dedication ceremony. The festivities also included music, refreshments and succulent plant giveaways. Similar celebrations took place at Stony Brook Southampton and the MART building on East Campus after they hosted the Town Hall livestream.
Summarizing Stony Brook’s ambition in leading such a groundbreaking and important venture, McInnis noted the sense of urgency that exists surrounding the issue of climate change.
“The last decade has made us all acutely aware of critical challenges, especially at the forefront of climate change,” she said. “Stony Brook, working collaboratively with many partners, has answered that call.”
View a gallery of images from this week’s events: