Carnegie Mellon University

September 23, 2019

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community,

As I shared in the recent announcement regarding CMU’s new Sustainability Initiative, one of our objectives is to elevate Carnegie Mellon’s engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Earlier today in New York City, Carnegie Mellon joined other leading universities, city and state governments, foundations and businesses at “American Leadership in Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals,” a convening organized by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and the Brookings Institution.  Held on the margins of the UN General Assembly, it served as a reminder that leadership in the United States on the SDGs is coming from many different places and people.

You can read more about this first-of-its-kind UNF/Brookings Institution gathering, as well as CMU’s collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh and other partner institutions, by reading our university’s press release.

At the event, Carnegie Mellon announced these six commitments to help our university advance toward these globally-focused SGDs over the next 10 years:

We commit to educate CMU students around the world about the SDGs, recognizing that this framework applies to all of us and represents a special opportunity to create a more peaceful, prosperous, planet with just and inclusive societies.

We commit to help solve pressing problems brought to light by the SDG framework, by acting boldly, taking risks, and applying creativity.

We commit to do this work collaboratively, an approach deeply embedded in our university culture.

We commit that through education, research, partnerships and operational activities, we will demonstrate advancement of the SDGs at CMU.

We commit to create a Voluntary University Review of work being done at CMU and will report these findings in New York as the UN General Assembly meets next year.

We therefore commit to do more to align our work with the SDGs and build on the good work already done by CMU faculty, students, staff and alumni – whether focused on mitigating climate change, eliminating food waste, reducing violence or ending human trafficking.

CMU’s Sustainability Initiative is intended to improve coordination of our sustainability education, research, and practices among our students, faculty, staff and local community members. Through our Voluntary University Review, we will collect feedback from CMU community members regarding our own sustainability activities that align with the SDG framework.  

While engaging in sustainability efforts at Carnegie Mellon is voluntary, I encourage each of you to learn more about the value and shared principles in pursuing these universal sustainability goals.

We welcome new ideas that can further enhance these efforts in our classrooms, research, green practices, operations, facilities – and any ideas that can have a meaningful impact on sustainability around the world. If you have any suggestions or questions, please e-mail them to, and members of the Sustainability Initiative’s steering committee and advisory council will review your feedback.


Jim Garrett
Thomas Lord Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering