The Sustainability Next Task Force Delivers Vision and Launches Implementation
This October, Georgia Tech celebrates Campus Sustainability Month by showcasing the new Sustainability Next Plan. Following the completion of Georgia Tech’s strategic plan, the Institute’s executive leadership team formed the Sustainability Next Task Force and charged it with proposing an implementation roadmap for sustainability at Georgia Tech over the next 10 years that emphasizes coordination across the research, education, operations, and economic development activities of the Institute.
For more than 30 years, Georgia Tech has promoted sustainability initiatives ranging from teaching sustainability principles in the classroom, to building one-of-a-kind campus facilities to meet environmental and energy standards, to conducting groundbreaking research. What’s different about the Sustainability Next Plan is that it presents a newly unified vision for coalescing, implementing, and measuring cross-cutting sustainability initiatives at Tech. It will also serve to advance key strategic goals of the strategic plan, including amplify impact, connect globally, and lead by example.
“The plan leverages our diverse and unique strengths to address the most challenging problems of our time,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “It draws a campuswide consensus around well-defined steps that, in addition to moving our campus operations further toward sustainability, will equip students with the skills to recognize and solve sustainability challenges in their careers, and support research that will establish Georgia Tech as a global leader in the development of innovative solutions for a sustainable future.”
Key Priorities of the Institute Sustainability Plan
The Sustainability Next Plan features six key priorities that touch nearly every aspect of the Institute, each with specific objectives and strategies for implementation.
Education for Sustainable Development
Leading Sustainability Research
Culture and Organization
Living Learning Campus
The projects launching in the 2022 – 23 academic year include:
- Climate action plan
- Living learning campus initiative
- Interdisciplinary graduate degree scoping and instructional design
- Seed funding programs for cross-disciplinary climate research and teaching with the U.N. Sustainable Development goals
- Sustainable-X, a student entrepreneurship program
These projects will be supported by new positions in Infrastructure and Sustainability, the Office of Development, the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, and the Center for Teaching and Learning (in collaboration with Serve-Learn-Sustain). Their shared governance will be strengthened through an Institute sustainability governance project steered by Strategic Consulting.
About Sustainability Next
The Sustainability Next Plan is a mission-critical deliverable of the Sustainability Next Task Force. For more than six months, the task force conducted an exhaustive review of sustainability data gathered from campus programs, units, and partners. The task force also hosted several town halls for students, faculty, and staff and met one-on-one with leaders representing nearly all facets of campus operations to synthesize recommendations that make up the objectives and strategies of the plan. Overall, the process involved engaging with more than 200 key stakeholders and coordinating across all 20 Georgia Tech strategic plan implementation teams, with a particular emphasis on Research Next; Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Anchor Institution; Comprehensive Campus Plan; and International Education.
“The most exciting thing about this plan is that it is so cross-cutting,” said Anne Rogers, associate director of the Office of Campus Sustainability and co-chair of the Sustainability Next Task Force. “Sustainability is inherently collaborative, and we can only achieve our goals when we have buy-in from across campus stakeholders and departments. We’ve had sustainability plans in the past, but never one that matches the scale or scope of this one. We’re excited about what we can accomplish with this new commitment.”
Click here to explore the Sustainability Next Plan, including its objectives and strategies — and visit the site frequently as the plan progresses. For more information, including how you can get involved, contact any of the following Sustainability Next co-chairs:
- Maria Cimilluca, vice president for Infrastructure and Sustainability
- Anne Rogers, associate director for Office of Campus Sustainability, Infrastructure and Sustainability
- Laura Taylor, chair and professor, School of Economics, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
- Beril Toktay, professor of operations management, Brady Family Chair, and Regents’ Professor; interim executive director, Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems; and faculty director, Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, Scheller College of Business
About Campus Sustainability Month
Held each October, Campus Sustainability Month is an international celebration of sustainability in higher education. Throughout the month, colleges and universities organize events to raise the visibility of campus sustainability and provide campus sustainability advocates with a platform to deepen campus engagement around sustainability.
Click here to view the October 2022 events and programs at Georgia Tech.