Carnegie Mellon University

September 9, 2019

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community,

I am pleased to announce the creation of a new campus-wide Sustainability Initiative. This initiative will be organized around objectives that strengthen our university’s commitment to sustainability; elevate Carnegie Mellon’s engagement with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a shared blueprint for sustainability adopted by countries, cities and universities such as ours; and improve coordination of our sustainability education, research, and practices among CMU students, faculty, staff and local community members.

This initiative’s efforts will be led by a standing steering committee, reporting directly to me, comprised of co-chairs David Dzombak, Hamerschlag University Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Steve Guenther, University Engineer and Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and Campus Services; and Sarah Mendelson, Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy and Head of Heinz College in Washington, D.C.

A newly-formed standing Sustainability Advisory Council, a group of CMU scholars, administrators, staff and students, will also provide counsel to the steering committee and me on opportunities that exist regarding Carnegie Mellon’s goals for sustainability education, research and practice within the framework of the SDGs.

I would like to thank members of the Faculty Senate ad hoc Committee on Sustainability, CMU’s Green Practices Committee, and a number of student teams for recent feedback and recommendations on the future of sustainability at Carnegie Mellon, which helped to inform the creation of this important initiative. I look forward to providing updates on the initiative’s progress, and on ways we as a community can become more engaged in this impactful work.


James H. Garrett, Jr.
Thomas Lord Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering