Past Events

to promote environmental understanding and boost sustainable practices


Engaged RI: A Sustainable Future

Monday August 24, 2020 4:00-5:00 p.m. A virtual event by zoom link

Renewable Energy & Decarbonization Opportunities: Understanding Climate Change Impacts and Assessing Solutions

with Yosief Kidane and Stefan Engquist -Cornell University Cooprative Extension Interns

A Message from Stefan & Yosief

As Engaged RI interns this summer, Stefan and I got the opportunity to research renewable energy and decarbonization opportunities across the island, and plan out how the community can become more sustainable. We’d like to acknowledge the community’s passion for the ecology as well as the environment, and recommend having the environmental impacts of alternative energy as another focus for next year’s interns.

To view a pdf of the full presentation prezi, just click here.

Engaged RI: Collaborative Planning

Monday, August 17th, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. virtual event by zoom link

Envisioning Roosevelt Island as a Climate Smart Community

with Camilla Bacolod–Cornell University Cooperative Extension Intern

To view the full presentation just click here. This includes discussion notes from participant ideas recorded during the breakout room session of the meeting.


A Message from Camilla, our climate smart intern:

Thank you all for attending the Engaged RI: Collaborative Planning event! We enjoyed hearing everyone's ideas on possible steps to envision Roosevelt Island as a Climate Smart Community. This discussion was the beginning of future community engagement events to continue the conversation on generating innovative and sustainable solutions to address climate change.

The next meeting may be held on October 6th, 2020. More details coming in the near future. Please save the date!

If you are interested in possibly joining this planning group, please complete the survey here to be an Eco-Ambassador in order to also help spread the word about eco-friendly events, news, resources on the island.

Please spread this information and survey to inivduals and organizations who might also be interested in this joining this planning process.



Let's Reconnect & Meet the Summer Interns

Monday, July 27th 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

virtual event by zoom link

Learn about a summer of work to pave the way for a deeper dive into sustainability for Roosevelt Island

What the interns are doing:

Working to make Roosevelt Island a Climate Smart Community: Camilla Bacolod is working under the supervision of a key staff member at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) to complete and submit an application for Roosevelt Island to “mimic” and be compatible with New York State requirements and/or compliance on energy efficiency and sustainable practices.

Identifying Renewable Energy Use and Decarbonization Opportunities on Roosevelt Island: Stefan Engquist and Yosief Kidane are working under the supervision of Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council member, Chris Gassman, to explore and address one of the key questions surfaced by Engaged Roosevelt Island: what is the potential capacity to expand Roosevelt Island’s use of renewable energy? The interns are gathering information on current energy sources used by Roosevelt Islanders to identify opportunities for decarbonization including switching to renewable energy sources and identifying new place-specific options for renewable energy (e.g., tidal, geothermal power).

Camilla Bacolod is a student at Cornell University studying Industrial & Labor Relations and City & Regional Planning. Her project is focused on developing a framework for Roosevelt Island to be compatible with New York State requirements on energy efficiency and sustainable practices. This framework hopes to provide localized solutions in contributing to the global climate action plan.

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Stefan Engquist is a rising junior at Cornell University studying labor relations, business, and environmental sustainability. He is working to establish a reasonable baseline for Roosevelt Island's energy use and carbon emissions and analyze sustainable solutions like solar energy.

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Engaged RI: Youth Matters!

RIOC Youth Program & P.S. 217 Beacon Program students

joined together for an afternoon of sustainability learning and the fifth event for this Engaged RI grant.

on March 6th, 2020.

Youth have the power to change the world. We want to listen to them and give them the tools to succeed.

At Cornell Tech University Campus

Time to Listen as Roosevelt Island Youth Matter

And They Are Speaking to Us Very Clearly

Please click on the links above to read the student essay excerpts. Essays prepared in the after school program of The Child Center of NY with Adib Mansour of RIRA's Children, Youth, & Education Committee

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Engaged RI: Youth Matters! On March 6th, 2020 seventy students arrived at the beautiful Tata Innovation Center. They were from RIOC’s Youth Program, P.S. 217 Middle School, the Beacon/Child Center of NY After School Programs, and Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troops. Cornell Tech and the Engaged RI team was honored to host them all for a Friday afternoon together to figure out how to promote sustainable practices in all our lives.

After Jane Swanson welcomed all, Ana Canas of Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC Programs (CUCE-NYC) opened the afternoon with a sensory activity to connect us all with nature through our senses. Listen, smell, touch, taste, look ----at dried Oak leaves, lavender, milkweed flower seed fluff, spikey Sweet Gum balls, and delicious fruit.

Our NYPL branch of Roosevelt Island was present with Sasha Jones providing a book spine message and a table for library cards and more.

Greg Morissett, Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech, was able to stop in to speak to the students and be present along with other faculty and administrators.

Presentations by the Engaged RI team included daily specifics for sustainable living with the Six Transformations guiding the SDG’s and the Seven R’s - Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Re-think. Games showed how to how to sort waste products and realize the urgent need to refuse single use plastic as well as the challenge invovled in reducing waste in the take-out system for restaurants.

After listening to the eloquent essays of the Environment Heroes from P.S. 217 with Adib Mansour of RIRA’s Children, Youth, and Education Committee, we were introduced to Lauren, one of the founders of Deliver Zero and innovative new company based in Brooklyn New York.

Finally, the students learned about a simple, yet profound way to make a difference: “In youth there is you & your idea, plus your friends and partners, which together lead to success for your dreams.”

RI Nature Meet-up

Feb. 12, 2020

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Good Shepherd Chapel

The fourth Engaged RI event supported by this grant was a free community evening focused on Roosevelt Island Nature. Click HERE or below to link to the Roosevelt Islander blog for details and films from this evening with 60-70 residents in Good Shepherd chapel.



Watch Fascinating Video About The Natural World Of Roosevelt Island From 1609 To Present Day By Local Resident & Urban Naturalist Jack Burkhalter At Engage RI Meet Up for RI Nature- What Is Your Favorite Roosevelt Island Green Or Outdoor Space And Tree?


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Other wonderful presentations at the Engaged RI Nature Meet Up on included a presentation by Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN) founder Anthony Longo who described Roosevelt Islanders working together to create, protect, restore, maintain healthy, natural habitats for all.

Click HERE or below for the entire presentation.

Roosevelt Island Residents Working Together To Create, Protect, Restore, Maintain, Our Healthy Natural Habitats For All

Eco-Ambassadors Meet-up

Feb. 5, 2020

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Good Shepherd Chapel

The third Engaged RI event supported by this grant featured expert, Sem Sepulveda, who is Outreach Coordinator at the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability of DSNY. Sem carefully engaged the 50 attendees with tips to help residents sort smart - now that’s 2020 Vision. #earthlove #zerowaste Attendees also learned more about current Take Action survey results.

In attendance was Mary Ann Adonizio representing Verdant Power installing the RITE tidal project this spring. We also had Beatrice Ajaero of @ibari.nyc ,a local business that has built in sustainable practices from the start: refusing plastic bags, only selling products in glass / tin packaging that can be recycled, using compostable takeout containers for hot food & donating extra food to the local senior center!


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Local Entrepreneurs show us how to get the green on & keep our neighborhood clean!

Hot Chocolate & Conversation

at the Sanctuary

Dec.11, 2019

4:30-7:00 p.m.


photos by Zamir Eleusizov

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The second Engaged RI event supported by this grant was a free community gathering for Hot Chocolate & Conversations to listen to neighbors ideas and share resources. Designed to allow participants to both share ideas and listen to others as a creative catalyst for the community, it featured diverse speakers such as: Beacon program 6th grade students, OPEN DOORS poet from Coler Hospital, RIRA, RIOC, Cornell Tech, NYPL, GrowNYC, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office (MBPO), RIGC, GRIN, Girl Scouts, and local residents---all of whom shared stories, concerns, commitments and the latest news. There were tables for both local and global information about the Engaged RI grant, the RI Green Map, Roosevelt Island Nature, Composting, Library resources, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and Project Drawdown.

Participants mingled and recorded solution based ideas for our neighborhood. Throughout the evening attendees received free giveaways including Drawdown books, up-cycled fabric totes created by RI seniors, reusable coffee tumblers, stylish kitchen compost pails, and small indoor plants. A fun come & go event at the Sanctuary 851 Main Street!

Zero Waste Workshop NYC

at the Tata Innovation Center of Cornell Tech

Nov. 14, 2019 6:30-8:00 PM

The first program supported by this grant was a well attended workshop on Nov. 14, 2019 presented by ZeroWaste NYC Workshop Series. All ninety attendees enjoyed the gracious space and hosting by leaders from the Cornell Tech Campus at the beautiful Tata Innovation Center.

In order to foster innovative thinking and community connections, entrepreneurs Grounded Upcycling and Farm to People were also present alongside RI activists from iDig2Learn, The Market and the Good podcast and others. See the Roosevelt Islander blogspot post here for details.

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photos by Olya Turcihin courtesy of iDig2Learn

Attendees represented RI neighbors and stakeholder groups already engaged in this kind of learning and discussion.

NYC Office of Manhattan Borough President and infrastructure resources such as NYPL & NYC Compost; RIOC's NY State government offices of RI Parks and Recreation, Community Affairs, and Project Management; RIRA and island institutions such as Carter Burden Senior Center, Open Doors NYC at Coler Hospital, Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, Girl Scouts, Roosevelt Islander blog, RIGC, WFF; Global sustainable finance initiatives like Arabesque.


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