Carnegie Mellon University

Sustainability Initiative

Carnegie Mellon is building upon two decades of an engaged effort in support of the broader definition of sustainability afforded by the world's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), also known as the Global Goals.

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Our university’s focus includes education, research, and practice in building environmentally sustainable, peaceful, just and inclusive communities.

CMU has maintained existing institutional commitments in the sustainability realm.

Global Goals

The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are 17 global objectives to create a more equitable and viable planet by 2030. These goals came together following input from millions of people around the world, with younger generations especially engaged. They were adopted by the global community at the United Nations in 2015. 

Select each goal below to learn about the type of work and global challenges they address.

Our Charges 

The Sustainability Initiative's Steering Committee and Advisory Council are leading the following efforts:

Grow awareness

of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the university

Elevate 

the university's engagement with the SDGs

Oversee 

a process of community engagement known as a "Voluntary University Review"

Develop processes

to identify and present high-priority opportunities for the university to consider

Advise 

on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges regarding CMU's engagement with the SDGs

Communicate 

to the university and the world about our SDG progress and commitments

Our Commitments

As announced to the campus community by Provost Garrett, the following six commitments will help our university advance towards globally-focused SDGs 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 at the UN General Assembly in 2020.

Read our 2020 VUR report (PDF) 

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 Sustainability in the News

Explore national and local news about Carnegie Mellon University's Sustainability Initiative.

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Steering Committee

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David Dzombak

University Professor and Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Steven Guenther

University Engineer and Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management and Campus Services

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Alexandra Hiniker

Executive Fellow for Sustainability Initiatives

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Sarah Mendelson

Distinguished Service Professor Of Public Policy and Head Of Heinz College In Washington, DC

Advisory Council

Nina Baird, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts

Joe Brauch, Undergraduate Student Senate

Sven Burke, Graduate Student Assembly

Don Coffelt, Facilities Management and Campus Services

Neil Donahue, Steinbrenner Institute, Mellon College of Science, College of Engineering

Rayid Ghani, Machine Learning Department, School of Computer Science and Heinz College 

Georgia Giatras, Office of the Provost

Barbara Kviz, Staff Council

Vivian Loftness, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts

Nick Muller, Tepper School of Business, College of Engineering 

Dan Nagin, Heinz College

Kathryn Posko, Heinz College graduate student

Elizabeth “Lib” Rosemeyer, Office of Title IX Initiatives

Edmund Russell, Professor of History, Dietrich College

Peter Scupelli, School of Design, College of Fine Arts

Anna Siefken, Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

Rick Siger, Office of the President

M. Shernell Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion

Adam Stein, VP of Campus Affairs

Madeleine Timko, Director of Sustainability, Presidents Cabinet

Sakena Washington, Office of the Provost

Keith Webster, University Libraries