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.

The World's First Voluntary University Review 

Pictured: poWer, an all-woman euphonium quartet providing quality entertainment for everyone, while also promoting representation for marginalized groups in music. poWer's efforts are critical to achieving Global Goals on gender equality, reduced inequalities and sustainable communities.

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.

The World's First Voluntary University Review si-ring-200x200px-min.png

This report is a first-of-its kind by any university.

Read our report (PDF)

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.

Image of CMU's 17 Sustainable Initiative goals

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


the university's engagement with the SDGs


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


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


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


David Dzombak

University Professor and Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Steven Guenther

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


Alexandra Hiniker

Executive Fellow for Sustainability Initiatives


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

Don Coffelt, Facilities Management and Campus Services

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

Evan Feder, Vice President, Campus Affairs

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

Lauren Henry, Senior Director, Alumni and Constituent Engagement

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

Liz Vaughan, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of SLICE

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

Deborah Steinberg, Green Practices and Sustainability Manager

Madeleine Timko, Director of Sustainability, Presidents Cabinet

Keith Webster, University Libraries

Videos: Conversations on Sustainability-Related Initiatives

Conversation on Building Sustainable Communities

Conversation on Human Rights and Civil Rights