John Pumilio

Back to Directory

John Pumilio

Associate Provost for Sustainability

Department/Office Information

Sustainability, Dean of the Faculty/Provost


John Pumilio, LEED Green Associate, Certified Energy Manager, and Certified Health Coach is the director of sustainability at Colgate University.  Since 2009, John has led Colgate’s sustainability program and effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2019.  Over that time, the university has reduced its campus carbon footprint by 46 percent and in 2019 became the first college or university in New York State to achieve carbon neutrality.  Successes to date include a reduction in energy, water, and paper use while increasing renewable energy and recycling.  In 2016, John helped to co-found the Hamilton Climate Preparedness Working Group and has been helping to coordinate and lead efforts for the Village and Town of Hamilton to achieve NYS DEC Climate Smart Communities certification, which both received in 2020.  Before returning home to Central New York, John was a field biologist on the Florida Panther Recovery Project in the Everglades, guided tours in the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador) and Machu Picchu (Peru), led wildlife safaris in East Africa, guided mountain hiking excursions throughout Alaska and British Columbia, completed breeding bird surveys on Hog Island, Maine, and conducted field research in the West Indies (Jamaica). In these roles, John has developed programs to introduce hundreds of individuals, students, and citizen-scientists to the principles of sustainable living while helping to preserve our natural world.

Born and raised in Central New York, John holds degrees from SUNY ESF at Syracuse University and The Evergreen State College in Washington State.

Today, John enjoys birdwatching, hiking, and reading in his spare time.

John Pumilio CV

Architectural Record
American Universities Target Climate Neutrality
By Katharine Logan
November 7, 2022

Rockefeller Institute of Government
Locally Sourced: Municipal and Green Policy Solutions Symposium
September 9, 2022
Panel 1: State-Local Climate and Energy Programs

Pattison, A., Henke, C.R. & Pumilio, J. Community-based climate action planning as an act of advocacy: a case study of liberal arts education in a rural community. J Environ Stud Sci 11, 183–193 (2021).

Colgate University 13 Podcast
Can Burning Biomass Help with Carbon Reduction?
September 20, 2021
Learn about biomass as the primary heat source for the University, and how burning locally sourced wood chips helped reduce Colgate's carbon footprint on its pathway to carbon neutrality in 2019.

Colgate University 13 Podcast
What is Carbon Neutrality?
December 8, 2019
Join Colgate Director of Sustainability John Pumilio to learn about the history of Colgate’s 10-year journey toward becoming the first carbon-neutral University in New York State. Discover what a carbon credit really is all about, and find some simple new ways to be a better steward of the Earth in your own life.

WAMC Northeast Public Radio
Colgate University Attains Carbon Neutrality
By Jim Levulis
April 22, 2019
WAMC’s Jim Levulis spoke with college president Brian Casey and director of sustainability John Pumilio – who began by describing what carbon neutrality means.  Colgate University says it is now the first university in New York to reach carbon neutrality, completing a 10-year plan.

Colgate Magazine
Plan. Act. Change.
by Dan DeVries
August 20, 2019

The Colgate Maroon-News
People of the Year: John Pumilio
by Maggie Dunn
December 6, 2018

Colgate Magazine
Rare and Migrating Birds Visit Colgate's Forests
by Michael Blanding
September 11, 2018