Hans Pfister and Andrea Bonilla, co-owners of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality recently returned to their Alma Mater, Cornell University, to speak to its students as a part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
One of the students who attended the roundtable discussion after the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series wrote to us after, thanking us “for delivering an inspirational presentation and for participating in a stimulating discussion. Specifically, I found your vision of conceptualizing sustainability in broader terms than other hoteliers quite interesting.”
Here are some of his take-aways from the discussion and Cayuga’s sustainable operations:
“I think that, nowadays, sustainability is an often misunderstood word””especially in the hospitality industry. Hotels typically equate sustainable development and operations with energy efficiency. Therefore, I was very impressed by the lengths to which you go to analyze and change every aspect of your operations to ensure that the end impact on the environment is minimized. For example, the cycle of methane production you have created incorporates not only clean energy utilization but also organic food sourcing and clean food waste disposal.
Even more instrumental is the fact that, through education, you have incorporated your community and guests in your vision. For example, when you educate your local communities about how to make the best use of the resources that they have available, you help them to develop a long-term view of resource use and to change their behaviors. Similarly, when you open up the back-of-house to your guests, you educate them not only about what sustainable practices your properties have in place but also on what steps guests can take in their personal lives to reduce their impact on the environment. Finally, this concept culminates when you bring guests and the local communities together so that both groups can learn from each other and see the final result of environmental conservation.”
At Cayuga, our hope is to inspire and educate and we are so pleased to hear from this student who understood and embraced our vision of a sustainable hospitality industry.