Carnegie Mellon University

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September 11, 2019

News Briefs

Initiative Aims To Enhance CMU's Commitment to Sustainability

Provost Jim Garrett has announced the creation of a new campus-wide Sustainability Initiative. This initiative will be organized around objectives that strengthen the 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; and improve coordination of CMU's sustainability education, research and practices among students, faculty, staff and local community members.

This initiative’s efforts will be led by a standing steering committee, comprised of co-chairs David Dzombak, the 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 provide counsel to the steering committee on opportunities regarding Carnegie Mellon’s goals for sustainability education, research and practice within the framework of the SDGs. Find out more.

INTERSECT@CMU Tackles the $3.68M Question

Carnegie Mellon's annual INTERSECT@CMU conference, hosted by the Tepper School this Saturday, focuses on health care innovation with a keynote address by Seema Verma of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and three provocative panel discussions.

Verma oversees a $1 trillion budget, representing 26% of the total federal budget, and administers health coverage programs for more than 130 million Americans.

The first panel will address how artificial intelligence can impact the development, delivery and experience of health care. The second panel will delve into how science and the arts will help shape the future of health care. The third panel asks the $3.68 million question: How do we tackle the issues related to to the costs, pricing, and policy design of wellness and health care?

See who the panelists are and the full conference schedule.

Host Family Program Seeks Volunteers

Carnegie Mellon’s Host Family Program for International Students in Pittsburgh is seeking faculty and staff volunteers to serve as hosts. The program is not a homestay program — rather, hosts and students agree to get together about once a month at convenient times. The program welcomes single people, couples or families.

Within the last two weeks, more than 160 new graduate students have applied for the program, so the need for hosts is great. 

Administered by the Office of International Education, the Host Family Program for International Students is part of a university-wide effort to enrich the student experience at Carnegie Mellon. The program gives international students the opportunity to explore Pittsburgh with their hosts, engage in meaningful dialogue, practice their English, and generally enjoy a connection to the city they might not otherwise experience. Many students feel more engaged with the university because of the personal, one-on-one interactions with their hosts.  As ambassadors, hosts enhance their connection to the university and enjoy getting to know talented students. 

For more information and to sign up as a host, visit the program website and click on the link titled “To Participate as a Host Family” for the application and release form.  Send questions to

Find out more.

Faculty and Staff Benefits Survey Launches Sept. 16

Each year, Carnegie Mellon University reviews and updates its benefit programs based on faculty and staff member feedback, market practices, competitive data and other factors. This input is used to inform CMU’s faculty and staff member benefits strategy.

To get your vital feedback on the programs and benefits that mean the most to you, the Office of Human Resources is asking all domestic, benefits-eligible faculty and staff members to complete a confidential CMU Faculty and Staff Member Benefits Survey by Friday, October 4.

On Monday, Sept. 16, all domestic, benefits-eligible faculty and staff members will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online survey. The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete. As an added incentive, Aon, an independent consulting firm, will randomly select 25 survey participants to receive a $25 gift card.

Why Conduct A Survey?
This survey is your opportunity to tell us what you value most about the university’s benefit programs. The goal of the survey is to help the university best match the benefits the community wants while maximizing available resources. It is not a cost saving measure; it is a tool to help tie our benefit programs to CMU’s strategic goal of attracting, retaining and developing the best talent. Your opinion and the opinions of your colleagues will help shape faculty and staff member benefits at CMU over the next few years, beginning with the 2021 benefits plan year.

Your Responses Are Confidential
To ensure individual responses are kept confidential, the Office of Human Resources is working with Aon to conduct the survey and analyze the results. Each survey recipient is assigned an individual participation link. This allows Aon to categorize, analyze and report on survey responses by aggregate groupings and demographics to enable the Office of Human Resources to better understand and respond to community needs. Responses will not be identified by the individual, and only collective results will be reported to the university.

If you have issues accessing the survey, please contact the Human Resources CMUWorks Service Center at 412-268-4600 or

Symposium To Honor the Late Egon Balas

The Tepper School will host an academic symposium and memorial, Oct. 27-28, to pay tribute to University Professor of Industrial Administration and Applied Mathematics Egon Balas, who died earlier this year on March 18. He was 96.

After being imprisoned twice, once for joining the communist party to oppose the Nazis during World War II and later by the communist party in a Stalinist purge, Balas became one of the world's foremost experts in mathematical optimization after joining Carnegie Mellon in 1967.

"A beloved member of the CMU faculty for more than half a century, Egon Balas was a pre-eminent and legendary scholar who was enormously influential in the fields of operations research and applied mathematics," said President Farnam Jahanian. "Throughout his long and distinguished career as a researcher and teacher, he applied bold, focused and independent thinking to solve complex problems and also demonstrated a profound sense of humility, character and good humor. His extraordinary life and legacy will continue to serve as an inspiration to the entire CMU community."

Find out more.

September is Fire Safety Month

The Environmental Health & Safety Department is hosting several activities and hands-on training exercises in September to highlight Fire Safety Month. The remaining sessions are listed below. 

Sept. 18
Fire Trailer Demonstration
1 – 3 p.m., Merson Courtyard, Cohon Center
See how quickly smoke can impair visibility and learn how to navigate a fire event.

Sept. 24
Documentary Screening: “After the Fire”
McConomy Auditorium, Cohon Center
12 – 1 p.m., speak with the creators Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos
4 – 6 p.m., screening
In “After the Fire,” Simons and Llanos tell their powerful story of survival to reinforce the importance of fire safety. 

Questions? Send email to

Flu Vaccine Clinics Have Begun; Schedule an Appointment Online

The university is offering flu vaccinations at no cost for faculty and staff members. The flu vaccine clinics are hosted by the Office of Human Resources and administered by Giant Eagle Pharmacy.

Visit the Flu Vaccine Clinic Website for the clinic schedule. To obtain your flu vaccination, you will need to present your Carnegie Mellon ID card. While walk-ins are welcome, we recommend you schedule an appointment for faster service. 

As an added incentive, employees who are vaccinated at a mobile clinic are eligible to receive $5 off their next visit to Giant Eagle. You must present your Giant Eagle Advantage Card at the clinic to receive the $5 credit.