Carnegie Mellon University

The Sustainability Initiative is Carnegie Mellon University’s commitment to fostering a sustainable future for all by integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, into education, research, and practices. The initiative goes beyond environmental concerns to include social and economic justice, centering equity.

Established in 2019 with a Steering Committee and Advisory Council, the Sustainability Initiative hired an executive fellow and published the world's first Voluntary University Review (VUR) in 2020. The executive fellow became the director of the Sustainability Initiative in 2022 with the opening of the Sustainability Studio in Hunt Library.

In 2023, the Advisory Council transitioned into three working groups focusing on climate action, measuring engagement, and thematic programming, and formalized an internship program led by the director that places students at the forefront of the Sustainability Initiative. The Sustainability Initiative team divides responsibilities based on individual interests and values, with community engagement, programming strategies, and cross-campus collaborations being shared efforts.


Alexandra Hiniker

Alexandra Hiniker, Director of the Sustainability Initiative
As director of the Sustainability Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, Alexandra Hiniker is responsible for implementing the Provost’s commitment to the Global Goals. She is an internationally-recognized policy leader with 20 years of experience advocating for, creating, and implementing equitable policies and programs at local and global levels. Hiniker also serves as a member of the Sustainability Initiative Steering Committee.



Purva Bommireddy is a junior from South Plainfield, New Jersey. She is double majoring in civil engineering and statistics & machine learning and is the community engagement intern. In this role she facilitates connections between CMU community organizations and the Sustainability Initiative. She is developing a program where students across disciplines can support local groups with a shared vision for sustainability.


Cristina Goeller, a masters student studying public policy and management in Heinz College, serves as the Heinz College liaison. From Long Beach, New York, she creates programming for the Sustainability Initiative that has major themes of equity across the public and private sector. She connects with people across disciplines to see how all parts of CMU are working towards equitable development.


Camden Johnson is a junior studying chemistry in the Mellon College of Science. From Belmont, Massachusetts, he is the thematic programming intern where he works to design purposeful programming for the Sustainability Initiative. He wants CMU community members to understand the structure and function of our sustainability network and be able to connect their work to a broad definition of sustainability.


Phidor Kong is a masters student from Kampot, Cambodia studying public policy and management in Heinz College. She acts as the sustainability research intern, focusing on environmental policy and community engagement. She connects with people from different disciplines and interests, and works with them to promote sustainable development practices towards our Global Goals.


Ruben Antonio Quesada, an MBA student in the Tepper School of Business from San Jose, Costa Rica serves as the entrepreneurship intern. He works to promote and connect startups focused on climate technology, sustainability, and decarbonization at CMU with the greater student body. He is connecting Tepper and MBA specific programs to the Global Goals and sustainability programming through collaboration and conversation.


Aleena Siddiqui is a sophomore double majoring in materials science and engineering and environmental and sustainability studies. From Grosse Pointe, Michigan she is the communications intern. She focuses on finding new and meaningful ways to engage with the campus community and shares resources that allow others to think critically about how their work connects to the Global Goals. She works to bridge connections between student groups, staff, and faculty to strengthen CMU’s sustainability network.


Xinran (Joy) Wan is a masters student from Chengdu, Sichuan, China studying computational data science in the School of Computer Science. In her role as the data analytics intern she creates insightful data visualizations, fine tunes data analysis tools, and updates faculty profiles to align with the Global Goals. She is working to bridge the gap between sustainability-focused goals and academic research with meaningful applications of data analysis.


Steering Committee


Alexandrea Hiniker
Director of the Sustainability Initiative


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


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


Keith Webster
Helen and Henry Posner, Jr. Dean of the University Libraries